ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) Larry Brown has had a lot of homes in a 40-year coaching career.
The state of Michigan is one of the special ones.
Brown was in a sentimental mood after Southern Methodist beat slumping Michigan 62-51 on Saturday.
”Gosh, I love this place,” he said. ”This is a great school that has had teams like the Fab Five, and it is in a great state with such a fantastic basketball culture, especially when you talk about the city of Detroit.”
Brown is the only coach to win NCAA and NBA titles, and both of them saw key moments happen in Michigan. In 1988, Kansas won the Midwest Regional at the Pontiac Silverdome on its way to the national championship, and in 2004, Brown and the Detroit Pistons won his only pro title.
Saturday, though, he was just glad to have gotten a second chance at Ann Arbor, nearly 30 years after the Jayhawks lost to Michigan in his only other visit.
”I thanked Coach (John) Beilein, because this isn’t the type of game that a Big Ten game has to schedule,” he said. ”We’re trying to play at this level, so it means the world for our team and our school to not only play Michigan, but have them agree to come back to our place next year. He didn’t have to do any of that.”
It worked out well for the Mustangs (8-3), who got 19 points from Yanick Moreira and 17 from Nic Moore.
The Wolverines (6-5) have lost four straight, including three at home, and only have one more non-conference game before Big Ten play starts. Zak Irvin led Michigan with 17 points, while freshman Mark Donnal added 13.
”This is tough for our kids, because most of them went to great high schools, and we haven’t had a lot of losing streaks here,” Beilein said. ”We gave ourselves a chance to win this game, but we have to learn how to finish them off.”
Michigan was only down three at the half, went cold at the start of the second half, making just one of its first nine shots to fall behind by double digits. Caris LeVert ended the drought with his first basket of the game, and when the Wolverines scored the next seven points, they were back within 39-38.
Derrick Walton Jr.’s 3-pointer gave the Wolverines their first lead since 2-0, but Michigan went cold again down the stretch, missing nine of 10 shots to allow SMU to pull away.
”We missed too many shots and we had too many turnovers,” said LeVert, who finished with four points on 1-of-8 shooting. ”There are going to be days where you don’t shoot well, but you can’t keep turning it over.”
Brown was thrilled with his team’s effort, especially on LeVert.
”I thought we were great defensively all game,” he said. ”That kid is someone that I hear about all the time from my friends in the NBA, so to hold him to 1-for-8 is really a big accomplishment.”
MUSTANGS: The Mustangs were bolstered by the return of Markus Kennedy, their star post player who sat out the first semester after being ruled academically ineligible. He finished with five points and three rebounds in 10 minutes.
”He’s got nine days to get back into game shape, and he’s going to need it,” Brown said. ”But he did a nice job when he was out there tonight.”
WOLVERINES: A student nearly won $10,000 at halftime. He had to make a layup, free throw, 3-pointer and half-court shot in 25 seconds, and appeared to do it, but a replay showed that his final shot came about a half-second too late. He was later awarded $1,000 after numerous protests on social media. … Michigan hit just 8 of 36 3-point attempts (22.2 percent).
SMU hosts Midwestern State on Dec. 29
Michigan is home against Coppin State on Monday.